Overcome Shyness - O`Rourke Middle School PTA

We need your help in tonight’s discussion!
Visit the tables up
front to see how…
Helping Your Child
Overcome Shyness
October 26, 2011
O’Rourke Middle School
Program Purpose
• Share research about shyness from
leading experts
• Offer suggestions/tips/advice to help
your child deal with feelings of shyness
• Provide an opportunity for people with
similar concerns to collaborate and
"Shyness is probably a universal
emotional state--we all have it in some
situations and it's not a big deal.
Shyness, when it's a problem, is a
concern about being judged and not
living up to people's expectations that
is so strong that it stops you from
-Lynne Henderson, PhD
The Shyness Clinic, Palo Alto, CA
What is shyness?
• Personal discomfort, inhibition, and
self-preoccupation in social situations.
• Socially obvious symptoms:
– Stuttering, blushing, trembling
• Socially non-obvious symptoms:
– Increased heart rate, dry mouth, nausea,
Shyness & Bullying
• Students who are bullied are typically those
who are shy.
• Bullies tend to target peers who are shy
because they may not do anything to stop
• Some students who bully struggle socially or
have been bullied themselves.
• This can lead to feelings of frustration which
results in aggressive behavior.
Time to Develop “Social Fitness”
An analogy of physical fitness to help
understand and deal with shyness
Reflections of High School Students
I used to be shy, but then I got over it and
became more confident.
I used to be very shy going in to 9th grade, but
I met lots of new people and got more selfesteem so I’m much more open now.
I’m a very shy person, but I am not shy all the
time. I am shy when I am around people
that I don’t know and that I am not friends
with. On the other hand, I am never shy
when I’m out of school. I don’t know why
but as soon as I get to school I get quiet and
Reflections of High School Students
I used to be really shy when I was little, but I
guess I grew out of it.
I’m not shy at all anymore, but I used to be
always shy. I don’t know what happened, I
think I just grew out of it. Before I started my
job a year ago I was shy, but not anymore.
I used to be really really shy. I think by
opening up to people I have gotten over
some of my shyness.
Reflections of High School Students
I am becoming more of an outgoing person. I
am still a little shy sometimes. I think what
helped me was Sunday School and my pen
pals plus my youth group.
I am extremely shy all of the time. I hate
talking around people that I don’t know. If I
don’t feel comfortable around someone I
am especially shy. I always turn red and feel
embarrassed. I cannot get up in front of a
class without feeling shy and uncomfortable.
I always turn red when I feel uncomfortable.
Reflections of High School Students
I used to be shy but I overcame that by
picking up the guitar and singing. I
used to sing really quiet but gradually
became louder when I stopped caring
what people thought and just
accepted what I did was a good
I don’t like being put on the spot or my
shyness really comes out.
Reflections of High School Students
I used to be extremely shy when I was
little, but I grew out of it. In school I
tend to shut down a bit and I hate it.
It’s not who I am.
I used to be really shy but I decided I
don’t care as much if people think I’m
crazy or weird because I have people
who love me for me.
Help your child, by remembering…
• Shyness is a feeling, not a personality
– Express empathy for his/her feelings
• Shyness is common
• Shyness often depends on the situation
• Having several good friends is healthier than
having lots of acquaintances
• Not everyone needs to be a social butterfly,
but everyone needs to achieve interactions
that are satisfying and productive for them.
Strategies in the Family
• Encourage your child to tell you about
his day…including feelings
• Acknowledge your child’s strengths
• Socialize together (volunteer!)
• Have your child read out loud to you
or a sibling
• Be a role model of confident social
Strategies in the Family
• Encourage your child to speak for himself
(i.e. ordering at a restaurant)
– Practicing first is OK!
• Role play social situations
– Especially introductions to new people
• Acknowledge effort made in social
• Ask before offering constructive criticism
• Set measureable, specific social behavior
goals, within a timeframe
Strategies for the Individual
• Work on creating receptive, non-verbal
– Smile, good posture, leaning in, eye contact
• Before stressful social situations, repeat to
yourself “I can do this…I can do this…” and
remind yourself of exactly what you want to
get out of this interaction.
• Make a list of things to talk about before
hanging out with someone
Strategies for the Individual
• Hang out with other people like you.
• Don’t compare yourself to the most
outgoing person in a room – instead
notice that most people are not social
• Capitalize on what you’re good at
• Say “Please” and “Thank You” to
strangers, as appropriate
• Say yes when invited somewhere
Strategies for the Individual
• Invite a friend or two to do something
• If eye contact is hard, look at the
person’s eyebrows or right ear
• Let your teachers know that you’re
working on overcoming shyness
• Start a part time job
• Find a couple of close friends and join
activities with them
Peer-Reviewed Sources
• Colino, Stacey. "Social Security: New Help
for the Painfully Shy." Biography. Dec. 2002:
60-63. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 15 Oct
• Maslach, Christina. "Emperor of the Edge."
Psychology Today. Sept./Oct. 2000: 34-41.
SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 15 Oct 2011.
• Carducci, Bernardo. "Shyness: The New
Solution." Psychology Today. Jan./Feb. 2000:
38+. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 15 Oct
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